The Best of Portland 2011!

Updated 4.29. Note – so many links in this original posts are now broken, I have removed the majority of them from this page so as not to waste your time.

Here are the results from the our 2011 reader surveys. We had well over 1100 participants this year! A big thank you to all of our sponsors and participants!

A few notes: If the top two choices were significantly higher than the next choice, only they will be listed. If two businesses are listed on the same line, the difference was insignificant or they tied.

Best Restaurants in Portland

I’ve given this list its own page. Click here to see the top 18 Portland restaurants!

Best New Restaurants

Out of 554 votes:

  1. Tasty N Sons -25% of the total votes. 3808 North Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227 (503) 621-1400 Map My Review
  2. Gruner – 527 Southwest 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 (503) 241-7163 Map My Review
  3. Little Bird – 219 Southwest 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97204 (503) 688-5952 Map

My vote – Tasty N Son’s

Best Place to Dine with a Group

Out of 556 votes:

  1. Toro Bravo – 120 NE Russell St., Portland. Map (503) 281-4464 My review.
  2. Andina – 1314 Northwest Glisan Street, Portland, OR Map (503) 228-9535. My review.
  3. Clyde Common – 1014 Southwest Stark St., Portland, OR 97205 Map (503) 228-3333 My review.

Best Lunch

Out of 748 votes:

  1. Bunk Sandwiches -26% of the vote. 621 Southeast Morrison St., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 477-9515 Map My review.
  2. Evoe -8%. 3735 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 232-1010 Map
  3. Blueplate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain – 6%. 308 SW Washington St., Portland, OR 97204 (503) 295-2583 Map

Honorable mention: Tasty & Sons
You can see the comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Business Lunch

Out of 610 votes:

  1. Higgins Restaurant & Bar – 11% of the vote. 1239 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205 (503) 222-9070 Map My review
  2. The Heathman – 5%. SW Broadway & SW Salmon St., Portland, OR 97205. (503) 241-4100 Map
  3. Little Bird – 4%. 219 Southwest 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97204 (503) 688-5952 Map

Honorable mention: Bluehour

You can see the comments and commentary on this award here.

Tuna Tartare

Best Seafood

Out of 432 votes:

  1. Jakes – 15% of the vote. 401 Southwest 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 (503) 226-1419 Map
  2. Southpark Seafood Grill – 901 S.W. Salmon St., Portland, OR 97205 (503) 326-1300 Map
  3. Bamboo Sushi – 310 Southeast 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 232-5255 Map

Honorable mentions: Andina, Cabezon Restaurant & Fish Market

You can see comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Happy Hour

Out of 716 votes, a tie for first place!

  1. Tanuki Izakaya -8029 SE Stark St., Portland, OR 97215 (503) 241-7667 Map
    Clyde Common -1014 Southwest Stark St., Portland, OR 97205 (503) 228-3333 Map
  2. Spints Alehouse – 401 NE 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97232 (503) 847-2534 Map

You can see the comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Late-Night Dining:

Bar at Biwa

Just in time for the weekend, our readers vote for the best place for a late-night snack.
Out of 760 votes:

    1. Cartopia at 12th and Hawthorne – 46% of the vote! Open 12pm – 3am. Map

When split into vendors, Potato Champion and Whiffies Fried Pies take the prize.

The others are a distant 2nd and 3rd:

  1. Biwa – 215 Southeast 9th Ave., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 239-8830 Sunday through Thurs, 5pm to 10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm – 11pm Map Our review
  2. Beaker & Flask – 720 Southeast Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 235-8180 Daily 5pm to midnight. Happy hour 5 to 6:30 & 9pm – 10pm Map My review

Honorable mention: Bunk Bar, The Gilt Club, Montage

You can see the comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Vegetarian
Out of 428 votes cast:

  1. Portobello – 1125 SE Division, Portland, OR 97214 (503) 754-5993 Map
  2. Blossoming Lotus – 1713 Northeast 15th Ave., Portland, OR 97212 (503) 228-0048 Map Our review.
  3. The Farm Cafe – 10 SE 7th Ave., Portland OR. 97214 (503) 736-3276 Map

Honorable mentions: Andina – my review, Vita Cafe

I usually send friends to Andina, because I think the menu is really interesting, and they have a separate menu for vegans and vegetarians. It should be noted that Portobello has a very high rating among various online sites.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

Banh Mi

Best Vietnamese

I used to eat a lot of Vietnamese, but not so much anymore, so I’m a bit out of the loop. The top two are owned by the same family. Here are the results:

Out of 638 votes:

  1. Pho Van – 22% of the votes. Three locations – see website.
  2. Silk – 11%. 1012 Northwest Glisan St. Portland, OR 97209 (503) 248-2172 Map
  3. HA & VL – 5% – 2738 Southeast 82nd Ave #102 Portland, OR 97266. (503) 772-0103. Map

Honorable mention Pho An Sandy -6236 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 97213

You can see the comments and commentary on this award here.


Best Italian

Out of 814 votes cast:


  1. Nostrana – 1401 Southeast Morrison St. Portland, Oregon 97214 (503) 234-2427 Map. My review
  2. Genoa – 8%. 2832 Southeast Belmont St. Portland, OR 97214 (503) 238-1464 Map
  3. Pizza Italia – Distant. 1129 NW Johnson St Portland, OR 97209. (503) 478-0619 Map

Honorable mentions: Cafe Mingo, Ciao Vito

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Desserts – Restaurants

Paley’s Place Dessert. Photo John Valls

I split this category into two parts: restaurant desserts, and places that primarily serve desserts.

Out of 924 votes:

  1. Paley’s Place – I agree. 1204 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 243-2403 My review.
  2. Nostrana – 1401 Southeast Morrison St. Portland, Oregon 97214 (503) 234-2427 Map. My review
  3. Castagna – 1752 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214. Map (503) 231-7373

Honorable mention: Tabla

You can see the comments and commentary on this award here.


Amelie at Pix Patisserie

Dessert focused businesses:

  1. Pix Patisserie – 3901 North Williams Ave. Portland, OR 97227 (503) 282-6539 and 3402 Southeast Division St. Portland, OR 97202 (503) 232-4407 Map
  2. Papa Haydn -701 Northwest 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR (503) 228-7317 and 5829 Southeast Milwaukie Ave., Portland, OR 97202 (503) 232-9440‎. Map
  3. The Sugar Cube – This is a cart. Closed at the moment, but supposed to pop up at the 43rd and Belmont at the Good Food Here food cart spot. @TheSugarCube

Honorable mentions: Two Tarts, Random Order (both advertisers here, but that didn’t make any difference in the score)


Best Barbeque

Out of 768 votes:

  • Podnah’s Pit – 66% of the vote. 1625 NE Killingsworth Portland, OR 97211 (503) 281-3700 Map. My review.
  • Russell Street Bar-B-Que – 325 Northeast Russell St. Portland, OR 97212 (503) 528-8224 Map

You can see comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Chinese

Ocean City Seafood

Out of 696 votes:

  • Lucky Strike – 25% of the vote. 3862 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 206-8292. Map
  • Wong’s King Seafood – 18%. 8733 Southeast Division St., Portland, OR 97216 (503) 788-8883 ‎Map My review
  • Ocean City Seafood Restaurant – 10%. 3016 Southeast 82nd Ave., Portland, OR 97266 (503) 771-2299 Map

Honorable mention Shangdong

You can see comments and commentary on this award here.

Pok Pok Chicken Wings

Best Thai

The winners here are not a surprise. I agree with them all:

  1. Pok Pok – 39% of the total vote. 3226 Southeast Division St., Portland, OR 97202 (503) 232-1387 Map My review.
  2. Red Onion – 9%. 1123 NW 23rd Ave Portland, OR 97210-2903 – (503) 208-2634 Map
  3. Chiang Mai – 5%. 3145 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR(503) 234-6192 Map

You can see comments and commentary on this award here.


Best Brunch

Out of 974 votes cast:

  1. Tasty N Sons -25% of the total votes. 4.1%. 3808 North Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227 (503) 621-1400 Map My review.
  2. Screen Door -12%. 2337 East Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 542-0880 Map
  3. Simpatica -6%. 828 Southeast Ash St., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 235-1600 Map Our review.
  4. The Country Cat -7937 Southeast Stark St., Portland, OR 97215. (503) 408-1414 Map. My review
  5. Mother’s Bistro – 212 Southwest Stark St., Portland, OR 97204. (503) 464-1122 Map. My review
  6. Broder Cafe – 2508 Southeast Clinton St., Portland, OR 97202. (503) 736-3333 Map. My review.
  7. Accanto – 2838 Southeast Belmont St., Portland, OR 97214. (503) 235-4900 Map
  8. Besaws – 2301 Northwest Savier St., Portland, OR 97210 (503) 228-2619. Map

You can see comments and commentary on this award here.

Karam Mezza

Survey 2011: Best Lebanese

Out of 566 votes:

  1. Nicholas – 37% of the vote. 318 Southeast Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97214 (503) 235-5123. 3233 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232 (503) 445-4700 ‎‎Map
  2. Ya Hala – 23%. 8005 Southeast Stark St. Portland, OR 97215 (503) 256-4484 Map
  3. Karam Lebanese – 19%. 316 Southwest Stark St. Portland, OR 97204 (503) 223-0830 Map. My review (updated 1/11)

You can see comments and commentary on this award here.

East India Co. Samosa Chaat

Best Indian

Out of 548 votes cast:

  1. East India Company -17% of total votes. 821 SW 11th Ave Portland, OR 97205 (503) 227-8815. Map. My review.
  2. Vindalho -16%. 2038 Clinton St. Portland, OR 97202 (503) 467-4550 Map My review
  3. Channai Masala – 11%. 2088 NW Stucki Ave, Hillsboro, OR (503) 531-9500 ‎Map

Honorable mention: Swagat – 2% behind #3.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Sushi

It’s a runaway vote, and even better, I agree with all the results, though my favorite is Murata. Proving that Portlander’s have a thing for sustainable policies, Bamboo Sushi swam away from the pack.

850 votes cast:

  1. Bamboo Sushi – 27% of the vote. 310 Southeast 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 232-5255 Map
  2. Hiroshi – 10%. 926 Northwest 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97209 (503) 619-0580.  [note: Hiroshi closed.]  Also tied for 2nd – June – 2215 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214. Map (503) 477-4655 Our Review
  3. Murata – 9%. 200 Southwest Market St # P105, Portland, OR 97201(503) 227-0080 ‎ Map

The 2nd and 3rd choices don’t appear to have websites.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.


Best Mexican Restaurant

Once again, this survey pretty much followed along the lines I expected. Autentica has gotten more expensive, but I still feel it is a good deal. In my experience the service issues have been largely worked out, though they still have off days. ¿Por Que No? locations always have a line down the block, and I admire their commitment to their staff and to local sustainable ingredients. Nuestra Cocina is good, and used to be one of my favorite restaurants, but they need to shake things up. I was thinking the other day I haven’t been for a long time, because the menu doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years.

  1. Autentica – 21% of the vote. 5507 Northeast 30th Ave., Portland, OR 97211 (503) 287-7555. Map My review – updated 2.11
  2. ¿Por Que No? -19%. Two locations: 3524 North Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR (503) 467-4149 ‎Map & 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR(503) 954-3138 ‎Map. My Review
  3. Nuestra Cocina – 17%. 2135 Southeast Division St, Portland, OR (503) 232-2135 Map. My review – updated 3.11.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.


Best Steak in Portland

The reader survey results for “Best Steak in Portland” doesn’t have any big surprises except for Ringside’s second place performance. It shows what giving more attention and a new face to a restaurant can do:

Out of 818 votes cast:

  1. Laurelhurst Market -21% of the vote. 3155 East Burnside St.,Portland, OR 97232 (503) 206-3099 Map
  2. Ringside – 9%. Fox Tower 838 Park Ave., Portland OR. 97205 (503) 223-1513 Map and 14021 Ne Glisan st., Portland OR. 97230 (503) 225-0750 Map. My review
  3. El Gaucho -6%.319 Southwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97205 (503) 227-8794 Map. My review

You can see my steakhouse roundup here.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award.

Ken’s Artisan Bakery

Best Bakery

The results here are a bit unexpected for me. Over the past year it seems like all the talk has been about Little T, but the competition was baked by Ken’s Artisan Bakery.

Out of 1020 votes:

  1. Ken’s Artisan Bakery – 338 Northwest 21st Avenue, Portland OR 97214 – (503) 248-2202 Map. 17% of the vote. My Review
  2. Little T American Baker – 2600 Southeast Division St., Portland, OR 97202-1253 (503) 238-3458 Map 13% of the vote.
  3. Pearl Bakery – 102 Northwest 9th Ave., Portland, OR 97209 (503) 827-0910 Map 5% of the vote.

Honorable mentions go to Grand Central, Baker & Spice, Fleur de Lis, St. Honoré, and Lovejoy Bakers

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

Tasty n Sons Burger

Best Hamburger

In 2010, Cafe Castagna ran roughshod over the competition for best hamburger. Slow Bar came in 2nd, and Carafe, Higgins and Castagna tied for 3rd.

This year Cafe Castagna once again stomped the other choices, but interestingly, the other restaurants all have opened in the last year.

Out of 1020 votes cast:

  1. Cafe Castagna -11% of the total. 1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214. (503) 231-9959 Map My review.
  2. Grüner – 5%. 527 Southwest 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97205(503) 241-7163 Map My review.
  3. Foster Burger – 4.9%. 5339 Southeast Foster Road, Portland OR 97206 – (503) 775-2077 Map
  4. Tasty n Sons – 4.1%. 3808 North Williams Ave. Portland, OR 97227 (503) 621-1400 Map My review.

My choice – not that anyone cares as this is a highly subjective category – is Cafe Castagna. The Grüner burger didn’t seem special to me, I’ve never had the Foster Burger, and though I enjoy Tasty N Sons version, it varies wildly from day-to-day – undercooked/overcooked/salt bomb. On a good day, it’s great. Toro Bravo was 4th.

Always the diplomat.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

Best Coffeehouse in Portland

Last year Stumptown Coffee Roasters won by a significant margin. This year, Barista Coffeehouse surged and came very close to tying their score, with only 1% of the vote separating them. When you factor in the number of Stumptown stores versus the two Barista locations, it’s a pretty impressive showing. Ristretto Roasters bumped up to tie Coffeehouse NW for 3rd place.

Out of 826 votes:

  1. Stumptown Coffee Roasters – 15% of the vote. Many locations – see website. Map
  2. Barista – 14% of the total. 539 NW 13th Ave., Portland, OR. 97209 Map and 1725 NE Alberta, Portland OR. 97211 Map
  3. Coffeehouse NW – 4%. 1951 W Burnside St. Portland, OR 97209 Map and also in 3rd place: Ristretto Roasters- 4%. 3808 North Williams Ave, Portland 97227
    (503) 288-8667 Map & 3520 Northeast 42nd Ave, Portland 97213(503) 284-6767. Map
  4. Heart Coffee Roasters – 3%. 2211 E Burnside, Portland, OR. 97232 Map

Heart Coffee Roasters came out of nowhere. I like to think I’m pretty familiar with the Portland coffee scene, but I’ve never heard of them and had to ask around. Other scores that stood out from the pack: Crema, Extracto, Fresh Pot, Albina Press, Coava Coffee, Random Order and Legend.

Yes, another tie. What are the odds? I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

Ken’s Pizza

Best Pizza in Portland

Amazing. Out of 1011 votes, we have a tie. A TIE. Twice. I counted twice, and then built a pivot table to double-check, because I thought maybe I’d had too much bourbon. As you can see, there is quite a drop to 3rd place.

  1. Ken’s Artisan Pizza 28% of the vote -304 Southeast 28th Ave. Portland, OR 97214 (503) 517-9951 Map Our review
  2. Apizza Scholls 28% of the vote- 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97215. (503) 233-1286 Map
  3. Dove Vivi 5% of the vote- 2727 NE Glisan St. Portland, OR 97232. (503) 239-4444 Map.

In 2010, Ken’s slightly edged out Apizza, with Nostrana in 3rd. Good showing for Dove Vivi. This year Nostrana and Hot Lips tied for 4th. Goodness. I’m just going to be quiet. I’m adding 4th because I think it’s cool that they tied.

  • Nostrana – 1401 Southeast Morrison St. Portland, Oregon 97214 (503) 234-2427 Map. My review
  • Hot Lips -Many locations – see website.

My choice: either of the first place winners. They are slightly different styles, and both great. I’ve never been to Dove Vivi.

You can see all the comments and commentary on this award here.

This Food Cart is So Good, It Should Be a Restaurant!

  1. Garden State at Mississippi Market Place – 4237 N Mississippi St. Map 503-962-9265
  2. Nong’s Khao Man Gai -SW Alder between SW 10th and 11th.
  3. Koi Fusion -Floating food trucks.

My vote – Garden State.

If I Won the Lottery, This is the First Place I’d Eat:

One point out of 1134 separated Beast and Paley’s Place!

  1. Beast – 5425 NE 30th Ave, Portland OR. 97211 Map (503) 841-6968 Map My review.
  2. Paley’s Place – My review.  1204 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 243-2403
  3. El Gaucho – 319 Southwest Broadway, Portland OR 97205. Map (503) 227-8794. My review

My vote – Paley’s or Andina




Out Of All The Restaurants That Closed in 2010, I’ll Miss This One The Most:

  1. Ten-01
  2. Alba Osteria

(No third place) Ten-01 gets my vote. Note: Fin closed in 2011.



Family Friendly:

  1. Laurelwood – Multiple locations – see link.
  2. Pause Kitchen and Bar -5101 North Interstate Ave. Portland, OR 97217 Map (971) 230-0705

I’d vote for The Country Cat.




I’m Embarrassed to Admit I Eat here!

  1. Burgerville
  2. Taco Bell

(No clear 3rd) My vote goes to Burgerville. How can you be embarrassed to eat there!


I Had to “Breakup” With This Restaurant in 2010:

  1. Navarre -10 Northeast 28th Ave. Portland, OR 97232. Map (503) 232-3555
  2. Higgins -1239 Southwest Broadway, Portland OR 97205. (503) 222-9070 Map My review

(No third) This is a tough one, by I’d have to say Navarre too. Something is going on there.

This is the Most Romantic Restaurant in Portland!

  1. Paley’s Place – My review.  1204 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 243-2403
  2. Genoa – 2832 SE Belmont St. Portland OR 97214 Map (503) 238-1464
  3. Portland City Grill -111 Southwest 5th Avenue # 3000, Portland, OR 97204 Map (503) 450-0030

My choice is Paley’s Place

This Restaurant Has the Most Over-The-Top Menu Writing:

  1. Castagna – 1752 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214. Map (503) 231-7373

clarklewis gets my vote.


Best Place for a Discreet Affair – (Not that you’d have an affair!)

  1. Driftwood Room at the Hotel deLuxe – 729 Southwest 15th Ave., Portland OR. 97205 Map (503) 219-2094
  2. The Gilt Club (It’s amazing how many people spelled it “Guilt” club) -306 Northwest Broadway, Portland OR Map (503) 222-4458 My review

Driftwood Room is my choice too. Some of the answers to this question were pretty entertaining. No clear 3rd choice.

Best Restaurant to Go to On a Date:

  1. Paley’s Place (no other choices came close) – My review.  1204 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 243-2403
  2. Toro Bravo – My review. 120 NE Russell St., Portland. Map (503) 281-4464

Andina pretty much tied with Castagna for 3rd place:

  • Andina – This Peruvian restaurant also has terrific service. My review. 1314 Northwest Glisan Street, Portland, OR Map (503) 228-9535
  • Castagna – 1752 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd, Portland OR. 97214 Map (503)  231-7373

Paley’s place? Wow. I’m guessing not on a first date. I always pick Toro Bravo. If they can’t have fun there, it’s just not worth moving on.

This Restaurant Has Been Coasting on Its Reputation For Years!

  1. Higgins – 1239 Southwest Broadway, Portland OR 97205 Map (503) 222-9070. My review
  2. Bluehour – 250 Northwest 13th Ave.,Portland, OR 97209. Map (503) 226-3394
  3. Jake’s Famous Crawfish – 401 SW 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97205. Map (503) 226-1419

I didn’t think Jake’s had a good reputation. I agree with either of the first two choices.

Next page

Terrible Service in What is Otherwise a Good Restaurant:

  1. Nostrana. My review
  2. Clyde Common (a distant 2nd) My review

My pick is Nostrana. It’s come a long way, but it is still possible to get really lousy service from time to time.

I Could Eat Here at Least Twice a Week!

  1. Pok Pok – 3226 SE Divison St, Portland OR. 97202 Map (503)232-1387. Renown for authentic Thai street food. My review
  2. Toro Bravo – 120 NE Russell St., Portland OR. 97212. Map (503) 281-4464. My review
  3. Tasty n Sons – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner with a Spanish flair.  3808 N. Williams, Suite C, Portland 97212. Map (503) 621-1400. My review.

Interesting to see John Gorham’s restaurants pop up again and again. My choice is Tasty N Sons. I pretty much eat there twice a week.

Out-Of-Town Guests Always Want to Eat Here:

  1. Pok Pok – 3226 SE Divison St, Portland OR. 97202 Map (503)232-1387. Renown for authentic Thai street food. My review
  2. Jake’s Famous Crawfish – 401 SW 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97205. Map (503) 226-1419
  3. Toro Bravo –  120 NE Russell St., Portland OR. 97212. Map (503) 281-4464 My review.

This used to be know as the “who has the best PR agency” question. It seems things have changed a bit – good to see. My out of town guests don’t get a choice.

I Thought This Restaurant Would Be Great – But I Didn’t Like It!

  1. Ping – 102 Northwest 4th Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 229-7464
  2. Little Bird – 219 SW 6th Ave Portland, OR 97204. Map (503) 688-5952
  3. June – 2215 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214. Map (503) 477-4655 Our Review

It seems two of our newest restaurants aren’t making the cut. My vote goes for Little Bird. First meal was unmemorable, the second meal we had appetizers and went somewhere else for dinner. Maybe we just hit it on bad nights.

Ping is one of those restaurant you either “get” or you don’t. I always hear wildly opposite views depending on the person.

Best Place to Eat When You are Alone:

  1. Biwa – Japanese food; the ramen is a must-have (and cheap!). Here is our review. 215 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR Map (503) 239-8830
  2. Clyde Common – I’d guess because of the bar and community tables. It get’s awfully crowded sometimes. My review . 1014 Southwest Stark Street, Portland, OR. Map (503) 228-3333
  3. Tasty & Sons – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner with a Spanish flair.  My review. 3808 N. Williams, Suite C, Portland 97212. Map (503) 621-1400

My choice is Tasty & Sons because of the big counter and a great staff.

Best Bartender in Portland 2011:

  1. The crew at Beaker & Flask won by a landslide. For those who named a specific bartender, owner Kevin Ludwig easily beat the other contenders. Here’s an interview with Kevin and a review of the restaurant. 720 Southeast Sandy Boulevard, Portland, OR. Map (503) 235-8180
  2. Clyde Common bartender Jeffrey Morganthaller takes second place. Here is our review of Clyde. 1014 Southwest Stark Street, Portland, OR. Map (503) 228-3333
  3. Kelley Swenson from Ten-01 at the beginning of the year, and then June (now closed), took 3rd place. I’ve never seen a name spelled so many different ways, or so many different physical descriptions in absence of a name.

Most Underrated Restaurant

  1. Spints Alehouse – This German alehouse is clearly ahead of the pack. When they have it, the goulash brings me back. Here is an interview with owner Alyssa Gregg. 401 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97232. Map (503) 847-2534
  2. Belly specialized in Northwest cuisine and local ingredients. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never eaten there – and now it has closed.
  3. Firehouse is slowly building a loyal following. It’s warm and cozy, Italian influenced menu matched with a terrific patio makes for a great experience. 711 Northeast Dekum Street, Portland, OR Map (503) 954-1702

Best Place to Buy Meat

  1. Gartners Country Meat Market – 7450 Northeast Killingsworth St. Portland, OR 97218. Map (503) 252-7801
  2. Laurelhurst Market – 3155 East Burnside St. Portland, OR 97232. Map (503) 206-3099
  3. New Seasons Markets – Many locations. Map

Best Fishmonger:

  1. Newman’s Fish Company (City Market on NW 21st) – 735 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209. Map (503) 227-2700
  2. Uwajimaya – 10500 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy. Beaverton, OR 97005. Map (503) 643-4512,
  3. Whole Foods Market – multiple locations, see map, and New Seasons Markets – Many locations – see map.They were separated by less than 2%.

I go to Newman’s


Best Gourmet Food Store:

  1. Pastaworks – Many locations – map
  2. City Market – 735 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97210 Map (503) 221-3007
  3. New Seasons Markets – Many locations – see map

I tend to go to Foster & Dobbs

This Restaurant is Worth the wait:


  1. Toro Bravo – I agree with this choice. Delicious Spanish food. My review. 120 NE Russell St., Portland. Map
  2. Tasty & Sons – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner with a Spanish flair. My review. 3808 N. Williams, Suite C, Portland 97212. Map (503) 621-1400
  3. Screen Door – tremendously popular Southern restaurant.
    2337 East Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214-1655. Map (503) 542-0880

Toro Bravo gets my vote.


Best Vegan

  1. SweetPea Baking Company -1205 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR 97214. Map (503) 477-5916.
  2. Black Sheep Bakery – 523 NE 19th Ave Portland, OR 97232. Map (503) 235-1419
  3. New Cascadia Traditional – 1700 Southeast 6th Ave. Portland, OR 97214 Map (503) 546-4901



Best Place to Buy Cheese:

  1. Cheese Bar – My choice too! Great selection. 6031 SE Belmont St. Portland, OR 97215. Map (503) 222-6014
  2. New Seasons Markets – Many locations. Map
  3. Pastaworks – Many locations – map
  4. Foster & Dobbs Authentic Foods – Great cheese and damn good sandwiches (among other gourmet type things) 2518 15th Avenue NE Portland, OR 97212 Map (503) 284-1157

A tie for third place between Pastaworks and Foster & Dobbs:


A Quiet Place for Conversation:


  1. Bar Avignon – 2138 Southeast Division St. Portland, OR 97202. Map (503) 517-0808. My review
  2. Metrovino – I agree with this choice, and Paley’s (below) on most nights. 1139 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 517-7778
  3. Paley’s Place – My review.  1204 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 243-2403



Best Wine Shop:

  1. Cork a Bottle Shop – I like Cork myself. 2901 NE Alberta St. Portland, OR 97211 Map (503) 281-2675
  2. New Seasons Markets – Many locations. Map
  3. Trader Joes – Many locations. Map


Best Restaurant For a Tight Budget:

  1. ¿Por Qué No? Two locations – 3524 N Mississippi Ave. Portland, OR 97227 (503) 467-4149 & 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97215 (503) 954-3138 Map
  2. Biwa – This would have been my choice. Read our review here.  215 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR Map (503) 239-8830
  3. Cha Cha Cha – Multiple Portland locations. See website.

Best Service:

  1. Paley’s Place – By a landslide. I agree. My review.  1204 Northwest 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209 Map (503) 243-2403
  2. Andina – This Peruvian restaurant also has terrific service. You can read my review here. 1314 Northwest Glisan Street, Portland, OR Map (503) 228-9535
  3. Toro Bravo –  120 NE Russell St., Portland. Map (503) 281-4464. My review.


Worst Restaurant Website:

  1. Anything with Flash – by a landslide

The rest of the results were very close, some an actual tie, with dishonorable mentions going to :

  • Beaker & Flask, Bluehour, Higgins, Paley’s & Saucebox

Otherwise the results were all over the place. I can’t stand flash. Or out of date menus. Or .pdf files.

You can see comments and commentary on this post here.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. sabernar says

    New Season’s cheese selection isn’t anywhere near as good as the other three in that list. I’m guessing people who voted New Seasons never went to the others.

    • steve wino says

      It depends what you are looking for in a wine shop. There are a number of wine shops with good proprietors, decent selections and interesting tastings to broaden and educate your palate. For wine selection, all of it good and interesting, sometimes awe inspiring, I don’t know that anyone comes close to Vinopolis. Their newsletter alone makes me drool and lust.

      • Jill-O says

        I voted for Vinopolis too. Love that place – great combo of selection/service/price…and agree about the newsletter. Folks can sign up for the newsletter here:

        Love that their website is tied to their computerized inventory, too – you always know if they have what you seek.

        Great Wine Buys on NE Broadway is also a good shop, but no one compares to Vinopolis, IMO.

        • John says

          Do not get the friendly vibe thang at Vinopolis. Find rising snootiness at Great Wine Buys (which was my regular shop) and E & R. I go further for Cork where the owner knows his stuff. But choosing a wine shop is often a matter of finding someone who matches your palate, who likes the same styles you do and stocks them. Cork matches mine.

    • Food Dude says

      I think it shows where we are in the current economy. I know quite a few people who get their wine at TJ’s. If it fills their needs, more power to them

  2. Jen S says

    I too think Vinopolis or E & R are best for wine. Chop at City Market is fabulous for meat so glad to see at least the store getting credit. Speaking of credit you might want to consider giving the photographers credit and links. The top one is by a contact of mine on Flickr.

  3. says

    Congrats to Cork Wine Shop, they do a nice job there with great service and tastings. HOWEVER, the general public is missing the boat on the others, as E & R Wine Shop on Macadam, Storyteller Wine Co. (also on Macadam), Vino, Liner & Elsen are all worthy. Trader Joe’s is great for $34 Champagne (Piper Heidsieck is normally much higher elsewhere), and New Seasons is 10% higher price than anywhere else without the selection. Also, Great Wine Buys has an excellent selection and service!

  4. Irene says

    I find it very interesting to observe which parts of multi-faceted posts like this end up under the commentary spotlight. If you had asked me going in which category would have engendered the most debate of the ones listed so far, I never would have picked wine shop. I do think, as well, that this just reflects what a rich selection of wine shops we have in this city. Lucky us!

    • elwood says

      I think this section of the survey is getting attention because it is so surprising. That people voted for two groceries, one of which specializes in deeply discounted wines, shows many people view “best” as cheapest. This is a highly debatable criterion, as it ignores selection and staff knowledge almost completely.

      This is made even more surprising because this is a food blog, not the Oregonian.

      • abefroman says

        Although there are a lot of value wines at TJ’s, there are also a fair amount from California that are priced pretty much as elsewhere around town. I would agree that Vinopolis has probably the best selection in town or access to it. They do a fairly substantial amount of internet business that I don’t think the other shops are doing. Portland Wine Co. off of Hawthorne also has some interesting selections from time to time.

    • Irene says

      Oooh I have to second that one. I consider myself a conscientious buyer of wine, not an expert, but one area in which i have a little more than standard knowledge is South Australian wine (I worked in the region), and I have found more better SA wines at the Hollywood Freddy’s than anywhere else in town. Notably, every FM store has a different wine buyer so the same does not hold true across the chain. Also notably, the only place I have found that matches it is Newport Ave Market in Bend so before we go writing off the grocery stores . . .

    • Food Dude says

      When that was my local store, I used to buy quite a bit of wine there myself. I will try to go in this weekend and figure out what the percentages were for some of the other higher ranked places.

    • Eileen says

      I used to buy wine at Trader Joe’s until I found Grocery Outlet. Seriously. Go there. It blows TJ’s out of the competition for $4-6. If you don’t like a bottle, you can take it back after you’ve opened it for a refund. We went to GO and bought about a dozen bottles of different wines to sample (we were buying for a wedding). Not one was bad. If you’re a budget shopper, you are wasting your $ if you’re getting a $5 or $6 bottle of wine at TJ’s or another market when you could be going to GO. I can’t recommend it more highly.

    • Lance Hill says

      I must agree with the Broadway FM, especially if you are looking for a value. With the tough times these days it’s nice to know I can still find a good bottle of wine without being too cheap. They always have great wines from around the world at great prices, and the help is always very knowledgeable. It’s a fun place to explore and a try wines you may never have heard of.

    • Joe Spencer says

      I agree about Broadway FM. Maybe not the best but its up there in terms of very broad selection and pretty good prices.

  5. PDX2CDG says

    Surprised Liner&Elsen didn’t make it someones ‘list’.
    Vinopolis is a great cave……maybe a little rough around the edges but great selections.

  6. John says

    Interesting comment on Little Bird. Tomorrow’s O has a review of Little Bird. Now, how can David Sarasohn – one of Portland’s 10 most recognizable faces – do a review without the wait and kitchen fawning? Do we get the same service and attention to detail? I think not. Ludicrous that no one calls them out on this. I like David, a lot really, but it is insane to think his reviews are anything but ‘what the food and service is like when they know you are writing a review 500,000 people will see.’

    • Food Dude says

      I didn’t get the review at all. Total opposite of my experiences. Maybe it has improved greatly in the past 3 weeks.

      • says

        I’ve heard similar things from a couple other people, but I’ve only had great experiences at Little Bird so far. I think its reputation is going to be interesting to watch over the next few months…expectations are high, and maybe consistency isn’t as easy to maintain as it is in Le Pigeon’s much smaller space.

        • Sarah says

          I loved little bird- and found it to be one of my best meals this year. We had the marrow bones, the steak with spinach and onion ring and a lovely salad with pork belly- I thought they were all excellent! We sat at the bar and I found the drinks straightforward but delicious and the bartender knowledgeable and happy to share, but not overbearing or snooty.

  7. mostly_running says

    I’ve waited on David many times, and the only thing that has crossed my mind is that perhaps I should get his order right. With every other guest I’m thinking “I must get this order right.” Nice guy that one, but print media doesn’t mean much anymore.

  8. Jen S says

    Back to say I like Paley’s place for romantic. I moved to Portland 8 months ago and went to Paley’s for my birthday. My boyfriend and I had a Fabulous Time. So much so I fell like capitalizing it.
    *about my earlier post: didn’t mean you had to remove some photos. I’ve done web photo writing so I know about giving credit to photographer’s when due.
    Good stuff all around and ca’t wait to try out more places: Beast, Tasty n Sons, etc etc

  9. Food Dude says

    Lots of comments about wine shops, so I broke down more of the top choices so people can see. In order of votes:
    New Seasons Markets
    Trader Joes
    Liner & Elsen
    Great Wine Buys
    Fred Meyer
    Everyday Wine

    • Marshall Manning says

      Trader Joe’s? Really?

      We sell to every one of the other stores on the list, and each of them can find you better wines than you’ll find at Trader Joe’s at very similar prices (unless you’re a big $3 Chuck fan). Shop for small, quality-conscious producers who offer good value and you’ll get much better wine, as well as dealing with someone who actually knows about the products they are selling.

  10. tex says

    Smaller wine shops with good service and a niche appeal were lost in the polls I think, but I sure like Every Day Wine, Wine & Spirit Archive, Garrison’s and the euro-oddities of Pastaworks.

    • Food Dude says

      Just about every wine shop in Portland was listed, but because of that, each one didn’t get enough votes to effect the overall score.

  11. delizuz says

    Couldn’t disagree more with por que no on a budget, or even biwa. The ramen is great, but if you spend $20 on anything else you will leave hungry. Por que no is overpriced “safe” mexican food.

  12. Jessica says

    It’s really no surprise to see them both in the underrated category – Firehouse and Belly are very similar, concept wise: under-the-radar, nice but not budget breaking, seasonal, thoughtful, build a following instead of press, everything from pizza to fillet restaurants.

    I used to work at Belly, and I can say that the owners are the single nicest couple I’ve ever worked for, hands down (and I have no reason to suck up – I’ve changed careers). Making unpretentious, very good food with good humans was a pleasure. I get the impression that the Firehouse team is very similar.

    They are both what neighborhood restaurants should be.

    • steve wino says

      I eat at both Firehouse and Belly frequently and enjoy both. Firehouse is good at what it does but Belly changes its menu frequently and seasonally and ultimately allows its owner, who I believe is also the chef, to shine with great unpretentious dishes.

  13. Bertha Pearl says

    In terms of groceries, I tend to find really good wines and sometimes great deals @ Zupans. Another place I found some really good deals is Lambs Thriftway…of course I was in Wilsonville….

      • Jessica says

        Couldn’t disagree more.

        Simple seasonal (harder that it seems), not in-your-face fat (*cough* Pidgeon *cough*), and a level of sourcing and service that justifies the price.

        Lincoln reminds me of a better SF restaurant – acknowledging the real price of clean tasting food.

        • FoodPortland says

          Totally disagree with Jessica’s comment in regards to Lincoln. I lived in SF and it pales in comparison to any medicore restaurant in the area. Lincoln is BORING! The only thing they have going for them is a great PR agency.

  14. grapedog says

    I’m really surprised to see Por Que No? as the #1 restaurant to eat on a small amount of coin. Who can stop at one or two fish tacos? Soon, you’ve racked up $13 or more in food, plus a few Coronas. Don’t get me wrong, it’s excellent food, just can’t get full on a budget.

    Ate-oh-ate, plate lunch, now that’s a cheap meal that is filling! (and, it wasn’t even on the list)

  15. says

    Nice to see Paley’s getting the love. It’s easy to forget how good a job Vitaly & Co are *still* doing after all these years, what with the constant influx of new talent we’re spoiled with here in PDX…

  16. PDX2CDG says

    did I miss Bunk on a list somewhere? really enjoy the food, although little larger space would be great.

  17. SaltyCod says

    I’m sad that The Observatory didn’t get tops in some category, though I can’t totally be sure which category I’d put it in… Underrated, I guess. Perhaps bartender/drinks, which are outstanding, but the food is fantastic for the prices. AND they are really friendly too. It’s not a big to do over there, I might even put in the the best places to go alone category. I’ve been there maybe 30 times and never had a bad experience. Their menu doesn’t change quite often enough to warrant frequent revisits, but the smoked trout salad, the lamb burger, and whatever the fish of the day is are just ridiculously good for what they charge. Fantastic sides – not distressed or “jumped” – just proud to be a side of greens, or polenta.
    And I wish I remembered his name, but the bartender is great. I don’t love every drink (The Tom Kha is popular but not my thing), but the Spiced Manhattan is sublime.
    So, on some list somewhere, The Observatory belongs.

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